Most Animal Antibiotics Used for Treating, Preventing Disease

Antibiotics Used in Food Animals — This is a series of PowerPoint presentations from February 2012 that were used at a briefing for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The White Paper from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s 2012 Antibiotics Conference in Columbus, Ohio, ”A One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Use & Resistance: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose” is now available. — Antimocrobial Use Resistance White Paper

The Animal Health Institute announced February 8 the results of a survey on antibiotic use in animals in the United States that indicates that the vast majority of antibiotics are used to treat and prevent disease. The survey is based on data from 1998 provided to AHI by its members. “Antibiotics are vitally important to veterinarians, pet owners and livestock producers who rely on these medicines to protect pets and farm animals from disease,” said AHI President and CEO Alexander S. Mathews. “The Animal Health Institute is hopeful that this data will provide for greater public understanding of the importance of antibiotics in preventing and controlling disease.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 50 million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the United States each year. According to the AHI survey, 17.8 million pounds — 36 percent — are used in animals. Of the total used in animals, 14.7 million pounds — 83 percent — are used for prevention and treatment of disease. Of all antibiotic uses, only 3.1 million pounds — 6.1 percent — are used for growth promotion. Antibiotics may be approved for use in both companion and farm animals. There are more than 115 million cats and dogs, and more than 7 million sheep, 6.9 million horses, 7.5 billion chickens, 292 million turkeys, 109 million cattle and 92 million pigs in the United States. “In addition to protecting the health of America’s pets, antibiotics help farmers maintain healthier animals, which helps make America’s food supply the world’s safest,” Mathews added.

The Food and Drug Administration regulates all antibiotics for animals. The approval process is stringent and scientific, requiring that all antibiotics be proven safe for both animals and humans.

(Source: February 11, 2000 ASI WEEKLY)